JEFFERSON CITY — State Rep. Chuck Basye hopes to become House majority leader if he is elected to a fourth term in 2020.
Basye, R-Rocheport, cited his positive working relationship with Senate Majority Leader Caleb Rowden, R-Columbia, as his main reason for running and an advantage he has over other candidates.
“I believe we can work together and have a lot of positive things going on for Missouri, and specifically central Missouri, since we both represent part of the same area,” Basye said. “I’ve always gotten along really well with Mr. Rowden and I don’t see anything happening that would change that.”
Rowden agreed that having both majority leaders from the same part of the state would benefit the area. Basye’s House district includes northwestern Boone County and parts of Randolph, Howard and Cooper counties. Rowden represents all of Boone and Cooper counties.
Both legislators have “a fond relationship” with the University of Missouri, Basye said. MU received a $1 million core funding increase and $10 million for a nuclear medicine program in the fiscal 2020 budget, which passed the legislature last week. The budget also included a plan to bond $301 million to repair 250 bridges statewide, including the Interstate 70 bridge in Rocheport, which is undergoing emergency repairs.
Mid-Missouri interests were well-represented in the 2019 legislative session, Rowden said, and he supports Basye’s bid for House majority leader.
“I think he’s well-qualified and would do a tremendous job,” Rowden said.
Basye said his experience serving in the U.S. Marine Corps and working for the Federal Aviation Administration set him apart from the other candidates.
Reps. David Gregory, R-Sunset Hills, and Curtis Trent, R-Springfield, are also running for majority leader. Rep. Dean Plocher, R-Des Peres, has not made an official announcement but is suiting up to run, Basye said.
According to reports filed with the Missouri Ethics Commission, Gregory received $7,375 in campaign contributions between December and March and has almost $4,600 on hand. Trent received $575 in that time and has more than $24,200 on hand.
Plocher received $7,200 from December to March and has almost $139,000 on hand, more than the three candidates combined.
Basye has almost $12,800 on hand but did not receive any campaign contributions between December and March. He said he has not focused on fundraising since his re-election in November, but he will “take care of that in due time.”
The House has a history of electing majority leaders in their third term and promoting them to speaker in their fourth, an option Basye would not have since the House has a four-term limit.
Basye and Rowden both pointed to state Sen. Mike Cierpiot, R-Lee’s Summit, as an example of a successful majority leader bid during his fourth and final House term. Cierpiot was House majority leader during the 2016 and 2017 legislative sessions.
Current speaker Elijah Haahr, R-Springfield, is in his fourth House term but never served as majority leader.
Having only one term left is not necessarily a disadvantage for Basye, Rowden said.
“The folks who want to move up a little quicker might want to have a guy with two years (left in the House),” he said.